tv Talk to Al Jazeera Al Jazeera May 9, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT
>> the deal has not been made by a final price a announce. thanks for being with us. in washington, i'm ray suarez. things where we have to recognize that we are complicit. i am only talking about the negatives here because i think we have far too comfort addicted >> his perform applications on screen have made him one of hollywood's most respected act orders. oscar freedom? >> i think the press needs to have absolutely freedom. the whole culture needs to respect itself
>> we will discuss his roles as an actor, activist and his controversial relationship with hugo chavez? >> he was an electric personal thety. he was a great friend of mine. >> that's a personal note. he was significantly important and necessary in venzuela >> penn is not afraid of controversy and of questioning those in power >> we put $11,000,000,000 into pakistan. pakistan is not our friend. >> he knows his position in popular culture is based on what he believes in including haiti and pakistan. after he presented an international human rights award to a women's group in dublin >> how do you prefer to be known these days? as an actor or an activist? >> it never occurs to me to differentiate anything that i do, you know, whether it's making coffee.
i tend to live my life in flow, and i do whatever it is that i >>reporter: >> you have been at a ceremony honoring those people who are defenders of human rights. their work is far removed from the industries we are both involved in which, as you know, can be quiet superficial, quite wealthy at times, privileged. is it hard to be a part of that industry and then watch, as you know you do, the injustices? >> i would like to take exception to that. people who have had -- they come from poverty or privilege, they have you opportunity whether through education or some additional sense of self. i mean, you know, with the many opportunities that nelson mandela had for his own personal freedom and didn't take it.
with the great education of martin luther king, the things he sacrificed, to be in a room like one today with people who, like they say, you know, it's the day-to-day things. yes, the safety, security, education of your children, shelter for your children, but your personal reputation being tarnished with people who are opposing you and done in a way when there is no light on it, so while he would reject separating people based on socioeconomic class or nationhood and would never want to under estimate the power of that courage in so many levels of the human family, the greatest inspirations and the ones who do finally, face the greatest hardship are the poorest and those who are close to death and everything in between.
to see this organization do, celebrate and support those people and to do follow-up support of those people is just a kind of undeniable grace, you know, and so i was really glad to be part of it. >> when you speak, it's important, and people listen. do you worry sometimes that you might speak about an issue that maybe you don't know enough about and you speak out about it afterwards? in? >> probably. but less often than i have observed it in experts and in most of journalism. i feel that when i have spoken publically that typically it would be on something that i had firsthand witness of and, also, maybe the luxury of the perspective from those of whom i ourselves.
i come from a country that has about 25% passports, which means 75% of the most powerful country in the world has never traveled outside of its own boundaries. so they don't have a perspective. so, i try very hard to maintain a dialogue within that which i know. i don't -- i can be an emotional person, but i don't -- and i can use some emotional words about what i am talking about but i haven't found myself doubling back often. >> how do you choose those? is it just something that you see on t.v. screens, or is it your approach? how do you go about picking which causes are the ones that you want to be involved in? >> the credibility of those with whom you work and support or are supported by. i could start with that and
then, you know, you look into things. this program was a simple one, and really moving because these people, you know, i only have the tiniest, kind of molecular connection to the sort of things that they have faced and what they do. so where it gets difficult is dealing with nation-state support and political policy support because there are so many agendas in those things, and it's very easy to find yourselfblyi believing in the initial development of a plan and then seeing that through political pressures those implementing it stray. and then you are attached to something that maybe isn't going so well. but i would rather make a mistake doing something than make the mistake of doing
nothing >> in the past, you have been very critical about u.s. foreign policy, interfering in the affairs of other countries such as iraq and afghanistan. is the u.s. sometimes unfairly targeted that it interferes in some countries and in syria, it made the decision not to go into syria. and was criticized for not doing so. is the u.s. expected to be the protector of people's freedoms, the protector of the innocent sides? how do you feel about that? >> look, i am an american and to engage in the culture of complaint about our own credibility failures is to have to acknowledge the part that we, as citizens, play and have failed on government not only the failure of the government to us and to the world. there are great successes to the u.s. government. we saw an incredible response in haiti and an incredible response
from the white house, state department to the pentagon. and the people. and we have seen deviant well. but i think that we don't start to correct any of those things, beginning with government until we have to get increasingly engaged, you know, in the policies and in the policy, in voting in policy makers and i think one of the big things where we have to recognize that we are complicit, not only talking about the negatives here because i think we have been far too comfort addicted which has led us to be reluctant to boycott corporate interests that washington. >> such as? >> just as consumers, whether it
be in energy, in food, and all of the things, to security issues that lead to environmental issues around the world. i think that there is -- and i think that the younger americans are learning this at a faster rate than we did and as we get older and laysy, by the time we recognize our responsibility, will they recognize it when they are still ready >> the generation, for americans, young americans, they are learning far more about the world than previous generations ever knew, i guess. >> yeah and the difficulty of the internet to me is that again, in countries that have such a large level of comfort as the united states still relatively does, the misuse of it, socially, politically,
culturally, so loud and so present for anyone paying attention that it only creates higher levels of mistrust and and paranoiparanoia, that thing that obscures hope and involvement, as you say. if it's too much. when you look at how the internet is used in cultures that do not have that comfort, it's one of these great powerful things that takes an enormous amount of looking long because it also creates very quick change and quick change doesn't have a high sustainability rate in the short-term. he script is a great example. i still believe the arab spring will take a long time. square? >> yeah. >> you saw hope and excitement which appears to be completely dashed in that country now.
>> it certainly is dashed in terms of the prospective facadfacade. i don't believe it's dashed in the young revolutionaries. and i think that they will see the triumph of it. but you have to have a few years to wait >> still ahead on "talk to al jazeera" we will at that ug talk to sean penn about press freedom and his privacy in light of the nsa leaks by edward snowden. >> i'm ali velshi, the news has become this thing where you talk to experts about people, and al jazeera has really tried to talk to people, about
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know, you will get hounded by paparazzi and people you don't want to be hounded by but in general, the importance of the to you? >> for many years, because he had had a front-row seat and a personal experience, many, many times, still today i see how responsible so much of journalism is, virtually making up lies. and i am talking about including mainstream journalism. i have seen it in "the "new york times"," the "los angeles times" but with firsthand witness, it was in my own case, it was related to things that really don't matter to anyone else >> what sort of personal things? >> celebrity-focus things and things like that. and i still am not somebody beliefs it's a price you pay and all of that. i think that's you do a job, you know, if you want to see me, see me in the movie theatre. so, i would say if you had come to me before a significant
change in this view, i would have said there should be some restriction on the press. and god knows, i think a self-restrict in those areas. in the united states, so much of the press, you know, it creates a diseased culture, especially the celebrity aspect of it and the political culture. but when i went to iran in the week that weled to mahmoud ahmadinejad. and i saw the restriction on the press and people like the people that were awarded today risking their lives, i thought, you know, the only way to protect the press is that the press has absolutely freedom and if they abuse it, shame on them. but we have to have that. and we have to things.
just don't buy it. you talk about privacy in the united states. i have an attitude of (bleep). about my life. they've got it on their laps when they talk about their need for privacy. no. i think the press needs to have absolute freedom and the whole culture, including the press has to learn to respect itself. >> you talk about privacy because earlier we were talking about u.s. foreign policy and actually, the surveillance programs, spying on people, if you like. what are your thoughts on the national security agency and people like edward snowden? do you have a view on that? >> you know, like in many things, the whistleblower policies need to be very strong and clear and again, a lot of it has to do with not only public policy but the public's awareness and understanding of that policy and the ways in which we
accept certain investigatory tactics to be able to protect us. when it was daniel ellsburg and the pentagon papers, you look back at that and you see somebody who is the individual, responsible getter of the information he was dispersing and that type of a whistleblower needs to be protected. he is offered the responsibility, taken the responsibility. edward snowden, in my view, may have been very well intended. without question, there will be some very good things that come of the information that was released. and there was some criminal activity going on our government. i wasn't shocked by that. and there were things that were systematically criminal. and i don't think anyone in government was shocked by that.
but i don't think it's responsible to do as snowden did. i don't approve of the way in which the wiki leaks was randomly blitzed. there are communiques between government and some governments, that are meant to mislead and they are taken literally. there are sensitive relationships that are going to save lives tomorrow that got decimated by that. you have to be very diligent. you have to believe it. and i think he believed it. i don't know. i think he believed it. but like anything else, it's where there is not the capacity and he certainly, bright as he did, did not have the individual capacity to have execute nooidz all that material and the nuances in ease case all that material and the nuances in ease case. i would say if going to
celebrate edward snowden, you have to celebrate that the kind of glom diplomatic relationships that in many cases diplomatic relationships that in many cases led to the desecration of innocent people and will. you have to balance that. how are we going to find out? i am not going to be a final judge on that but a pursuer in my own organizational thought about it as we go along and what we, as citizens, have to do to be able to hold our governments accountable and determine what our mutual aspirations are in terms of security versus privacy and secrecy >> you are watching "talk toays" just ahead, sean penn talks about his relationship with the late venzuelan president hugo chavez. how does it square with his defense of human rights?
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al jazeera america, take a new look at news. joining us for "talk toays" actor, sean penn >> you are a staunch defender of human rights and some people have questioned about your friendship with the late venzuelan president hugo chavez and why you would be so interested in a country like venzuela which is considered one
of the most corrupt in the world. talk to me about your relationship with venzuela and particularly hugo chavez and his successor, nicholas madduro. what is it that you see in them that you admire that you admire? >> i have never bee capitalism? >> neither? >> neither. >> the humility of many of the progressive socialist governments seems to this layman as a very practical acknowledgement because we see how capitalist systems are failing. we see how the socialist systems are dysfunctional. we know that people -- that dreaming isn't a luxury. it's a human need and, hints, capitalism feeds into the possibility of that dream and the entrepreneurial ship that
all of those discussions, but beginning with the beginning of the chavez in venzuela, it was a country that 80% of its people hadn't begun to have the right to dream. they didn't exist. they had no identity, and i mean literally had no identity cards. they didn't exist. and they were ignor by the elite. so when the elite didn't do something for their people, it gave rise to someone like chavez. chavez was an electric personality, a great friend of mine. >> that's a personal note. he was important in venzuela. his personal flamboyance sometimes i even -- i said to him, you know, don't
pyourself there. there is that feeling and that long history of, you know, bad history united states had had an intervention in south america. when you are talking to an uneducated mass that you are trying to educate that you are getting incredible medical care for, for the first time in their lives, getting their kids into school and you are needing to appeal, i guess there is that instinct to say things against the bad guy, the big bad wolfe. nicholas maduro, president maduro inherited a lot of the growing pains that were left and the problems that came of a country largely forced into mayor know pair know /* paranoia. there is a great chance, you know, minister for foreign affairs, who had a great reputation that way, who i had a personal engagement on a
particular project and found him to be more than competent, highly competent, very bright. and similar to chavez, very in country >> not all of the people in his country are in love with him? we have seen the demonstrations. about. >> yeah. >> are they demonstrating over oppression or because they are on economic hard times? it's the latter. >> that's what it is. times. >> is it is it just economic hard times? isn't it also human rights as well? >> human rights. go on humanrightswatch, amnesty international's site. while hugo chavez was being called a dictator after legitimate democratic elections, more than our leaders have had to go through. our friend was colombia, death squads, political prisoners, minimal accusations of that
in venzuela. i have been to venzuela many, many times. i believe that, you know, the frustrations are real. but they are frustrations of an identity up against we see it on an economic level with president obama and the united states. how quickly we forget the devastated economy he inherited. the devastated credibility of his country he inherited. we've got to include in the context of our view of venzuela the incredibly biased reporting that certainly and again, i am talking so much from the perspective of following principally the u.s. media, but, you know, on venzuela, i think we should really be careful. we, the united states, should really be careful and remember, you know, we put $11,000,000,000 any to pakistan. pakistan is not our friend. we are worried, of course, they
are nuclear and so on. but man, for every step we take forward is a step back. >> money is corrupted all over the place. you want to talk about a place we have problems with, it's pakistan. when it comes to something like venzuela, these problems can, you know, most of it, i think, paranoia on both sides but i am hopefully, although when people are comparing it to the ukraine, you know, i just think, you know, i hope the governments aren't listening.
>> on the next talk to al jazeera lawyer david boies gives surprising insight into his most historic case bush vs. gore and tells of his relentless fight for civil rights >> this is the defining issue today... >> talk to al jazeera only on al jazeera america >> this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm david shuster with a look at today's top stories. following new violence in eastern ukraine, moscow and crimea, vladimir putin parades russia's military might. nigeria, efforts arrive to help fight boko haram, the group alleged tclaim responsibility of